Vegetarian Gumbo Recipe

Dive into the world of Southern cuisine with this flavorsome and hearty vegetarian gumbo. Packed with a medley of vegetables and spices, this gumbo offers a comforting bowl of healthful deliciousness. A perfect dish for those seeking a vegetarian alternative without compromising on taste.

Vegetarian Gumbo Recipe
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This recipe includes ingredients such as okra, fire-roasted tomatoes, and cajun seasoning which may not be readily available in your pantry. Okra, a key ingredient in gumbo, can be found in the fresh produce or frozen section of most supermarkets. Fire-roasted tomatoes add a smoky flavor that complements the vegetables and spices in the gumbo. They can usually be found in the canned foods aisle. Cajun seasoning, a blend of various spices, is critical for capturing that authentic Southern flavor. It's available in the spice section of a supermarket, but you can also make your own.

Ingredients for Hearty Vegetarian Gumbo

Butter or oil: Used to create the roux, a cooked mixture of butter or oil and flour that thickens and flavors the gumbo.

All-purpose flour: Combined with butter or oil to make the roux.

Red bell peppers, celery, white onion, okra, and garlic: These vegetables are the base of the gumbo, providing texture and flavor.

Vegetable stock: The liquid base of the gumbo.

Cauliflower and mushrooms: Additional hearty vegetables that add substance and nutrition.

Fire-roasted tomatoes: Lends a smoky flavor to the gumbo.

Creole or cajun seasoning: These spice blends give the gumbo its distinctive Southern flavor.

Thyme, cayenne, and bay leaf: Additional seasonings that enhance the flavor of the gumbo.

Green onions: Used for garnish, they add a fresh, bright flavor to the dish.

One reader, Corinna Amos says:

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This hearty vegetarian gumbo recipe is a game-changer! The rich flavors and hearty texture make it a perfect comfort food. The combination of vegetables and spices is simply divine. It's a must-try for anyone looking for a satisfying and flavorful meatless meal.

Corinna Amos

Techniques Required for Hearty Vegetarian Gumbo Recipe

How to make a roux: Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour until combined. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes, or until the roux mixture reaches a dark amber-brown color. Keep a very close eye on the roux at all times, turning the heat down a bit if it seems to be cooking too quickly or starts to faintly smell burnt.

How to simmer the gumbo: Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the gumbo continue to simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

How To Make Vegetarian Gumbo

Bring the Southern flavors to your table with this Vegetarian Gumbo that is loaded with veggies and spices — you won’t even miss the meat at all!

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour



  • ½cupbutter or oil
  • cupall-purpose flour
  • 2medium red bell peppers,cored and diced
  • 2celery stalks,diced
  • 1small white onion,peeled and diced
  • 1cupokra,fresh or frozen, chopped
  • 5clovesgarlic,minced
  • 3cupsvegetable stock
  • 1small head of cauliflower,cored and chopped into florets
  • 1lbbaby bella or button mushrooms,(16 oz) diced
  • 14ozfire-roasted tomatoes,(1 can)
  • 2tspcreole or cajun seasoning
  • ½tspthyme,dried
  • ½tspcayenne,or more/less to taste
  • 1bay leaf
  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper,to taste
  • thinly-sliced green onions,optional topping


  1. Heat butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until melted. Whisk in flour until combined. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes, or until the roux mixture reaches a dark amber-brown color. Keep a very close eye on the roux at all times, turning the heat down a bit if it seems to be cooking too quickly or starts to faintly smell burnt.

  2. Once the roux is ready, immediately stir in the bell peppers, celery, onion, okra, and garlic until combined. Continue to cook, stirring every 10 to 15 seconds for 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.

  3. Stir in the vegetable stock gradually until the broth is smooth. Then add in the cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, seasoning, thyme, cayenne, and bay leaf. Stir until combined, and continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer.

  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and let the gumbo continue to simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Taste, and season with extra salt, pepper, and/or cayenne if needed.

  5. Serve warm over rice, garnished with lots of green onions. Or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


  • Calories: 154.55kcal
  • Fat: 9.78g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.95g
  • Trans Fat: 0.37g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 2.44g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.54g
  • Carbohydrates: 14.68g
  • Fiber: 2.89g
  • Sugar: 4.10g
  • Protein: 3.94g
  • Cholesterol: 24.40mg
  • Sodium: 581.65mg
  • Calcium: 39.30mg
  • Potassium: 454.22mg
  • Iron: 1.22mg
  • Vitamin A: 141.94µg
  • Vitamin C: 53.47mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Hearty Vegetarian Gumbo

When making your roux, patience is key. The roux, a mixture of butter and flour, is what gives gumbo its distinctive, rich flavor. It needs to be cooked slowly until it reaches a dark amber-brown color. This process can take up to 20 minutes, but don't be tempted to rush it by increasing the heat. If the roux burns, it will give your gumbo a bitter taste. Instead, keep the heat at a medium-high level and stir constantly to ensure even cooking. This will result in a roux that's perfectly cooked and ready to form the base of your hearty vegetarian gumbo.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Vegetarian Gumbo

Prep ahead: Chop and measure all the vegetables and store them in airtight containers in the fridge. This will save time during the cooking process.

Use pre-made seasoning: Consider using pre-made Cajun or Creole seasoning to save time on measuring and mixing individual spices.

Frozen vegetables: Opt for frozen okra and cauliflower to skip the prep work and save time.

Multi-task: While the roux is cooking, chop the vegetables to maximize efficiency in the kitchen.

One-pot cooking: Consider using a slow cooker or instant pot to simplify the cooking process and reduce hands-on time.

Leftover magic: Utilize leftover vegetables or cooked grains to cut down on prep time and reduce food waste.

Substitute Ingredients For Vegetarian Gumbo Recipe

  • butter or oil - Substitute with olive oil: Olive oil is a healthier alternative to butter and provides a rich flavor to the gumbo.

  • all-purpose flour - Substitute with gluten-free flour: For a gluten-free option, use a gluten-free flour blend to thicken the gumbo.

  • red bell peppers - Substitute with yellow bell peppers: Yellow bell peppers can be used as a substitute for red bell peppers, providing a slightly different flavor profile.

  • celery stalks - Substitute with fennel: Fennel can add a similar crunch and flavor to the gumbo as celery.

  • white onion - Substitute with yellow onion: Yellow onions can be used as a substitute for white onions with a slightly stronger flavor.

  • okra - Substitute with green beans: Green beans can provide a similar texture and color to okra in the gumbo.

  • garlic - Substitute with garlic powder: If fresh garlic is not available, garlic powder can be used as a substitute.

  • vegetable stock - Substitute with mushroom stock: Mushroom stock can add a rich umami flavor to the gumbo as a substitute for vegetable stock.

  • cauliflower - Substitute with potatoes: Potatoes can provide a hearty texture similar to cauliflower in the gumbo.

  • baby bella or button mushrooms - Substitute with cremini mushrooms: Cremini mushrooms have a similar flavor and texture to baby bella or button mushrooms.

  • fire-roasted tomatoes - Substitute with canned diced tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes can be used as a substitute for fire-roasted tomatoes in the gumbo.

  • creole or cajun seasoning - Substitute with homemade creole seasoning: Make your own creole seasoning blend using spices like paprika, cayenne, and thyme.

  • thyme - Substitute with oregano: Oregano can be used as a substitute for thyme in the gumbo.

  • cayenne - Substitute with paprika: Paprika can provide a milder heat as a substitute for cayenne in the gumbo.

  • bay leaf - Substitute with dried basil: Dried basil can add a similar earthy flavor to the gumbo as a substitute for bay leaf.

  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper - Substitute with kosher salt and ground black pepper: Kosher salt and ground black pepper can be used as substitutes for fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.

  • green onions - Substitute with chives: Chives can provide a similar mild onion flavor and a pop of color as a substitute for green onions in the gumbo.

Best Way to Present Hearty Vegetarian Gumbo

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the gumbo, consider using a wide, shallow bowl to showcase the colorful and vibrant ingredients. The presentation should be visually appealing and inviting, with the various components of the gumbo clearly visible.

  2. Garnish with precision: Add a final touch of elegance by garnishing the gumbo with thinly-sliced green onions. The vibrant green color will provide a beautiful contrast to the rich, deep colors of the gumbo, adding a pop of freshness to the dish.

  3. Focus on balance and symmetry: Arrange the ingredients in a balanced and symmetrical manner, ensuring that each component of the gumbo is thoughtfully placed to create a harmonious presentation. Pay attention to the placement of the vegetables and ensure that they are evenly distributed throughout the dish.

  4. Consider the rim of the bowl: Wipe the rim of the serving bowl to ensure a clean presentation. Attention to detail is key, and a clean rim will enhance the overall visual appeal of the dish, showcasing professionalism and precision.

  5. Emphasize the aroma: As you present the gumbo, allow the aromatic steam to rise, enveloping the senses of the diners. The enticing aroma will create anticipation and elevate the overall dining experience.

Essential Tools for Making Vegetarian Gumbo

  • Large heavy-bottomed pot: This pot is ideal for cooking the gumbo as it distributes heat evenly and prevents burning.
  • Whisk: Use a whisk to combine the flour and butter when making the roux.
  • Cutting board: A cutting board is essential for chopping the vegetables and preparing the ingredients.
  • Chef's knife: A sharp chef's knife is necessary for cutting the vegetables and other ingredients.
  • Wooden spoon: A wooden spoon is perfect for stirring the gumbo as it simmers, ensuring that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: These are essential for accurately measuring the ingredients for the gumbo recipe.
  • Soup ladle: A soup ladle is useful for serving the gumbo.
  • Sealed container: A sealed container is needed for storing any leftover gumbo in the refrigerator.

Storing and Freezing Hearty Vegetarian Gumbo

  • Allow the gumbo to cool completely before storing or freezing.
  • For storing in the refrigerator:
    • Transfer the cooled gumbo to an airtight container.
    • Place the container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
    • When ready to serve, reheat the gumbo in a pot over medium heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally.
  • For freezing:
    • Divide the cooled gumbo into portion-sized freezer-safe containers or resealable bags.
    • Remove as much air as possible from the bags before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
    • Label the containers or bags with the date and contents.
    • Place the gumbo in the freezer for up to 3 months.
    • To thaw, transfer the frozen gumbo to the refrigerator overnight or place the container in a bowl of cold water until thawed.
    • Reheat the thawed gumbo in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
  • If you plan to freeze the gumbo, consider undercooking the vegetables slightly to prevent them from becoming too soft when reheated.
  • Avoid freezing gumbo that contains seafood, as the texture may change and become rubbery once thawed.
  • If you have added rice to the gumbo, it's best to store the rice separately, as it will absorb liquid and become mushy when frozen and reheated.

How To Reheat Leftover Gumbo

  • Stovetop method: transfer the leftover gumbo to a pot and reheat it over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it's heated through. This method allows you to control the temperature and ensure that the vegetables and mushrooms don't become overcooked or mushy.

  • Microwave method: place the desired portion of gumbo in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the gumbo is heated through. This method is quick and convenient, but be careful not to overheat the gumbo, as it may affect the texture of the vegetables.

  • Oven method: preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the leftover gumbo to an oven-safe dish and cover it with foil. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the gumbo is heated through. This method is ideal if you're reheating a large portion of gumbo and want to ensure even heating throughout.

  • Slow cooker method: transfer the leftover gumbo to a slow cooker and heat it on low for 1-2 hours, or until it's heated through. This method is perfect if you want to reheat the gumbo without much hands-on attention, and it allows the flavors to meld together even more.

  • Regardless of the reheating method you choose, be sure to stir the gumbo occasionally to ensure even heating and prevent scorching. If the gumbo seems too thick after reheating, you can add a splash of vegetable stock or water to thin it out to your desired consistency.

Interesting Fact About Vegetarian Gumbo

The recipe for hearty vegetarian gumbo is a great source of fiber and protein, making it a nutritious and filling meal option for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Is Making Vegetarian Gumbo at Home Cost-Effective?

This hearty vegetarian gumbo recipe is highly cost-effective for a household. With a variety of affordable and nutritious ingredients like vegetable stock, okra, cauliflower, and mushrooms, it offers great value. The use of pantry staples like flour and canned tomatoes keeps the cost low. This flavorful dish is a solid 9/10, offering a budget-friendly and satisfying meal. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $15, making it an economical choice for those seeking a hearty and nutritious vegetarian option.

Is This Vegetarian Gumbo Healthy?

The hearty vegetarian gumbo recipe is a nutritious and well-balanced dish that incorporates a variety of vegetables, including bell peppers, celery, onion, okra, garlic, cauliflower, and mushrooms. These vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making this recipe a healthy choice for those looking to increase their vegetable intake. The use of vegetable stock instead of meat-based stock also reduces the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the dish.

However, there are a few aspects of the recipe that could be improved to make it even healthier:

  • Reduce the amount of butter or oil used in the roux to lower the overall fat content of the dish. Consider using a heart-healthy oil like olive oil instead of butter.
  • Opt for low-sodium vegetable stock to help control the dish's salt content.
  • Include additional nutrient-dense vegetables, such as kale or spinach, to boost the gumbo's nutritional value further.
  • Serve the gumbo with brown rice instead of white rice to increase the fiber content and provide more complex carbohydrates.
  • Experiment with different spice blends to reduce the amount of added salt needed for flavoring. Herbs like oregano, basil, and parsley can add depth to the dish without increasing sodium levels.

Editor's Opinion on This Vegetarian Gumbo Recipe

The recipe for hearty vegetarian gumbo looks delicious and satisfying. The combination of vegetables, spices, and a rich roux promises a flavorful and hearty dish. The use of fire-roasted tomatoes and creole seasoning adds depth to the gumbo, while the addition of cauliflower and mushrooms provides a hearty and meaty texture. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, making it accessible for home cooks. Overall, this gumbo recipe is a wonderful vegetarian twist on a classic dish, perfect for anyone looking for a comforting and flavorful meal.

Enhance Your Vegetarian Gumbo Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Bread: A warm and crispy garlic bread would be the perfect accompaniment to soak up all the delicious flavors of the gumbo.
Roasted Vegetable Salad: A colorful and flavorful roasted vegetable salad would provide a refreshing contrast to the hearty gumbo.
Cornbread: A classic cornbread would be a delightful addition to the meal, adding a touch of sweetness to balance out the savory gumbo.

Explore These Tasty Alternatives to Vegetarian Gumbo

Savory Lentil Stew: This hearty stew is packed with protein and fiber, making it a satisfying and nutritious meal. It's perfect for a cozy night in!
Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille: This colorful and flavorful dish is a great way to enjoy a variety of vegetables. It's a perfect option for a light and healthy dinner.
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup: This velvety smooth soup is a comforting and delicious way to enjoy the flavors of fall. It's a great option for a cozy night at home.

Appetizers and Desserts to Round Out Your Gumbo Meal

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory stuffed mushrooms are the perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal. Filled with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs, they are sure to impress your guests.
Crispy Cauliflower Bites: These crispy cauliflower bites are a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional fried appetizers. Coated in a seasoned batter and baked to perfection, they are a crowd-pleasing option for any gathering.
Decadent Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. This elegant dessert is perfect for a special occasion or a romantic evening in.
Velvety Lemon Tart: Savor the bright and tangy flavors of a velvety lemon tart, with a buttery crust and a smooth, citrusy filling. This refreshing dessert is the perfect way to end a summer meal or to brighten up a dreary day.

Why trust this Vegetarian Gumbo Recipe:

This hearty vegetarian gumbo recipe offers a delicious and satisfying meal for all, featuring a rich blend of vegetables, spices, and flavorful ingredients. The carefully crafted combination of bell peppers, okra, and mushrooms creates a hearty and wholesome dish that is both nutritious and flavorful. With a well-balanced mix of seasonings and a carefully prepared roux, this recipe promises to deliver an authentic taste of Cajun cuisine that will surely impress your taste buds. Trust in this recipe to bring the warmth and comfort of a traditional gumbo to your table.

Share your thoughts on this Vegetarian Gumbo Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know if you have any tips or variations to enhance the flavors of this classic Southern dish.
Can I use gluten-free flour in this recipe?
Yes, you can definitely use gluten-free flour in this recipe. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time for the roux accordingly, as gluten-free flour may brown more quickly than all-purpose flour.
Can I use frozen okra instead of fresh okra?
Absolutely! Frozen okra works well in this recipe. Just be sure to thaw it before adding it to the gumbo.
Can I make this gumbo ahead of time?
Yes, this gumbo can be made ahead of time. It actually tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together. Just store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.
Can I adjust the level of spiciness in this gumbo?
Of course! You can easily adjust the level of spiciness by adding more or less cayenne pepper to suit your taste preferences.
Can I substitute any vegetables in this recipe?
Absolutely, feel free to customize the vegetables in this gumbo to your liking. You can add or substitute vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, or zucchini based on your preferences.

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